“An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.” Inception

The establishment or starting point of an institution or activity

An act, process, or instance of beginning

You guessed it today’s topic is about the genesis of an idea. But more importantly it is my idea of fan culture coupled with my review of the 2010 film Inception etc. Back in 2010 I was excited that any director/writer would want to explore the world of dreams. I’ve always found that the inner-life or dream-life of another person was very fascinating. After watching the movie with my “charming” family, their shouts of distaste and spluttering arguments about why the film wasn’t good, got me thinking. Why was everyone saying it rewarded attention?

So I took another look at the film desperate to find answers, and I did. Roger Ebert harped on about the film jabberwocky that churns out unoriginal script after boring sequel and it clicked. Christopher Nolan wasn’t a genius he just makes films that no one really understands so that he can make up the plot when asked. At that point I would consider myself incepted. Why? Because it’s a brilliant idea to tell the audience nothing and slap together pretty pictures that have “a deeper meaning.” There my theory was born.

I believe that fan culture is built on hype. The way to make money is to tell everyone you can think of that your film is innovative, that they have to see it or risk being a social square. Then make a good movie or two after that talk a lot and just produce literally anything. It’s a basic formula once you sell (or feed) the crowds a line about you being the keeper of ideas and they’ll eat up whatever you peddle.

Note before I move on from the film Inception and more into the theory: I really have enjoyed a few of Chis Nolan’s movies. I found The Prestige engaging and thought provoking Memento was well made but I resent being toyed with. Part of my trouble with the Nolan films is that I feel he struggles with endings. I remember when I was younger and I would make up wild stories to the delight of my younger sisters. But when push came to shove I could never think of a good way to tie everything up; so I’d just  end by saying the end when I was tired of the story. Nolan’s stories have a similar feeling to the unending story. I think with Inception it might have been better if he’d used familiar dream elements (like he choose to do) but mixed it with a personal dream world. I’m not sure, but I think  rather than espionage looking at the world of the sub-conscience might have been more engaging.  I think the ideas he talked about in his commencement speech as Princeton University might have made a better film.

“In the great tradition of these speeches [to undergraduates], generally someone says something along the lines of ‘chase your dreams’, but I don’t want to tell you that because I don’t believe that,” he said. “I want you to chase your reality.”

“I feel that, over time, we started to view reality as the poor cousin to our dreams, in a sense … I want to make the case to you that our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with, they are subsets of reality.”

From those musings I had an idea, more of a theory really, that film makers are more clever than an one I know because they can plant a single idea in the heads of a crowd. Then before you know it Teenage Mutant Ninja  Turtles movies have sequels (WHAT THE…) So in keeping with my theory about so-so quality films being the talk of the town, I want to look at a few films that I was never inclined to see, but have a place in the hearts of fans. These are films that generally look no good but BAHM! before you know it everyone’s saying it’s amazing (without substantial evidence to convince me). So let’s talk about the Ninja Turtles for a minute. I have never understood their draw, even as a kid watching my cousins watch the cartoon. I remember feeling disdain for what I considered to be the less intelligent sex (I’m glad that people grow up). But even now on my walk to work I found that the poster for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows was bothering me. How can people watch this stuff? Why would anyone want to watch “ninja” turtles? When I get frustrated about something my go to for dealing with it is to seek out literature. Thus to Google (hardly literature, if I do say so myself but hey) and what I found turned my hate into heart warming love. The story goes that two young artist were up late one night goofing around and chatting about how ridiculous their sketches were. On top of that they found it impossibly funny that youths of all ages would flock to comic book stands for comics on “mutants”. From their entertainment came the first Ninja Turtles comic book which they crowd funded and sold. (more and better details can be found elsewhere I like this article Ninja Turtles)  They needn’t have laughed so hard because people love spending their money…why not some absurd fighting turtles. I just love that the whole things was a big fat joke that has turned it to a great big stack of $$$.

I will be writing on this article more next week. So stay tuned for the section on Avatar.



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